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Minister Coughlan launches major International Livestock Event Beef Expo, Ireland 2008

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Mary Coughlan T.D., today launched the first major International Conference and Show of Pedigree Beef Cattle Breeds in Ireland. Beef Expo, Ireland 2008 takes place in Kilkenny Mart and the conference in the nearby Lyrath Estate Hotel on Sunday 12th October 2008.

Beef Expo will promote the best of Irish Pedigree breeding to International markets in an effort to engage increased export markets for semen, embryos and live cattle.

Speaking at the launch Minister Coughlan commented "Beef Expo offers a unique opportunity for Irish Pedigree breeders and Breed societies to present their high quality livestock to a targeted international audience. These breeders have a vital part to play in the success of this event, ensuring visitors are presented with pedigree livestock of a standard that will impress overseas visitors".

The conference will be held on the morning of Sunday 12th October and the agenda will include outlining the production systems and characteristics of Irish farming; cattle breeding improvements and a future vision for beef breeding in Ireland. To showcase the range and quality of pedigree beef cattle available in Ireland, all beef breeds will exhibit their livestock in a day long show taking place in the new Kilkenny Mart.

Beef Expo, Ireland 2008 is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and co-ordinated by Bord Bia and a Management Committee comprising members of the Pedigree Cattle Breeders Council of Ireland, ICBF and the Department.

The Minister acknowledged the significant importance of the beef industry to the economy and highlighted positive developments taking place in the industry. Over 90% of beef exports now go to the high value EU markets. The recently introduced Suckler Welfare Scheme will not only impact on improving animal welfare but also has the potential to significantly improve profitability through better productivity and higher quality of the national suckler herd.

Stressing the important role of improved breeding in underpinning the whole livestock industry, the Minister stated that it was important that the exciting cattle breeding developments currently taking place are recognised. She said that the great tradition of cattle breeding remains alive and vibrant in rural Ireland and will help to enhance the world wide reputation of the quality of Irish beef.

Minister Coughlan concluded "the Beef Expo complements the positive developments taking place in the beef industry and cattle breeding sector and I expect it will firmly establish Ireland as an exporter of quality beef cattle and genetics to Europe and the rest of the world. I look forward to the Irish breeding industry embracing this potentially very rewarding opportunity".

Date Released: 08 April 2008